Unity, Mutuality and Harmony: The Principles of Gnostic Society

The mental consciousness, when it tries to create a society that is functional and harmonious, works to standarise, regiment and control the individual members through rules, laws, or common forms of thought, action and expression. In its extreme it can lead to fundamentalism that becomes intolerant of viewpoints or expressions of others, either members of the group or society, or else, of those outside. The result is a stifling of individual creative expression and attempts to purge or suppress anyone that does not follow the doctrine so developed.

Sri Aurobindo makes it clear that such a structured formation based on the mental rule-making tendency is not the way that the gnostic society would develop or work. On the contrary, there would be considerable diversity, variance and differences of expression, both by individuals within the community, and between one gnostic community and another, in keeping with the wideness and variability of expression found in the creation.

What holds the gnostic society together is actually the inner gnostic consciousness which would have the ability to harmonise and create out of this diversity the unity of an inner consciousness that recognises the role that each expression plays in the complete manifestation.

Sri Aurobindo discusses this issue: “But this free diversity would not be a chaos or create any discord; for a diversity of one Truth of knowledge and one Truth of life would be a correlation and not an opposition. In a gnostic consciousness there would be no ego-insistence on personal idea and no push or clamour of personal will and interest: there would be instead the unifying sense of a common Truth in many forms, a common self in many consciousnesses and bodies; there would be a universality and plasticity which saw and expressed the One in many figures of itself and worked out onenessin all diversities as the inherent law of the Truth-Consciousness and its truth of nature. A single Consciousness-Force, of which all would be aware and see themselves as its instruments, would act through all and harmonise their action together.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 28, “The Divine Life”

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2 thoughts on “Unity, Mutuality and Harmony: The Principles of Gnostic Society

  1. When Aurobindo uses the term “gnostic community” he means it not in a weak general sense, but in a very specific sense: He’s talking about a group of individuals who share the vision of living together in a shared living community and sharing all aspects of their lives with the goal of leaving behind ego-consciousness and awakening together into what he calls “common self consciousness” or “mutual consciousness”: the shared consciousness that all beings are individualized aspects of the one Divine Self. He says in the latter part of the “Divine Life” chapter:
    “The inner change [of awakened common self consciousness] can begin to take shape in a collective form only if the gnostic individual finds others who have the same kind of inner life as himself and can form with them a group with its own autonomous existence or else a separate community or order of being with its own inner law of life. . . At a certain stage it might be necessary to follow the age-long device of the separate community, but with a double purpose, first to provide a secure atmosphere, a place and life apart, in which the consciousness of the individual might concentrate on its evolution in surroundings where all was turned and centred towards the one endeavour and, next, when things were ready, to formulate and develop the new life in those surroundings and in this prepared spiritual atmosphere.”

    Clearly his vision is that as more and more of these small shared living common-self-dedicated communities form, they can join together on the material level to facilitate their joining together into a common consciousness that will ultimately include all of humanity. He says: ” It might not be necessary for [a gnostic community] to be entirely separate; it might establish itself in so many islets and from there spread through the old life, throwing out upon it its own influences and filtrations, gaining upon it, bringing to it a help and illumination which a new aspiration in mankind might after a time begin to understand and welcome.”

    In other words, he’s talking about living together in a shared living community as a new kind of collective yoga designed to awaken all of humanity to the supramental common self consciousness of our shared Divinity. It seems to me that it’s high time for those of us fired by Aurobindo’s vision of the common self consciousness of humanity, to band together to create gnostic communities that are actual shared living communities dedicated to this vision. If anyone is interested, please contact me (Samat) at samatman@earthling.net.

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